Football: Continent-wide Euro 2020 will lack heart and soul, says Fifa chief Blatter

BERLIN (REUTERS) - Plans to stage the 2020 European Championship across the entire continent instead of just one country will result in the football tournament losing its identity and soul, Fifa president Sepp Blatter said on Thursday.

Euro 2020 will be held in 13 cities across the continent and the semi-finals and final will be played in the same stadium, European football's governing body Uefa said in January.

"A tournament should be played in one country. That is how you create identity and euphoria," said Blatter, the head of world football's governing body.

"They have fragmented the 2020 tournament. So it is not a European championship any more. It has to have a different name," he told German magazine kicker. "I do not know what name.

"Such a Euro lacks heart and soul."

Uefa said that 12 cities would be awarded a package of three group games plus one knockout-stage game, either from the round of 16 or quarter-finals.

A special 13th package would be awarded, consisting of the two semi-finals and final with Uefa eager to split the costs for the bigger tournament and celebrate its 60th anniversary across Europe.

Blatter also said he planned to end his stint at the top of world football's governing body in 2015 if Fifa was strong and stable.

The Swiss sports administrator took over the top job in 1998.

"I want to push through the Fifa reforms at our congress in Mauritius in May, then we go to Brazil for the World Cup in 2014 and after that everything is open," he said.

"When it is secured that Fifa will continue to be led like that, that it will remain global and the pyramid will not collapse, then I will gladly hand over the sceptre to a new president."

Uefa boss Michel Platini is seen as a possible successor to Blatter.

"I do not know if he wants to," said Blatter. "He has an idea about the future of Fifa which he has to explain to the continents at some point. But he has not decided yet."